Paranormal Feelings

I posted these as comments on a YouTuber’s paranormal post, two different posts about the same incident. I am reposting my comments as a way to start writing something more on this site. I do have an interest in the paranormal but, I’m more skeptical than a believer. I know we don’t know everything, there are so many things science has yet to understand or discover, but… a lot can be explained by simple things too. I don’t rush in to believe either way, I like to observe and make a decision based on facts, more than emotions or crowd mentality. If that makes sense.

Anyway, here is a start to my site about the unexplained, paranormal and supernatural, mostly based in Ontario because that is where I am.

Paranormal things run in my family. My Grandmother was told there were lines of people wanting to talk to her (by a woman who worked as a medium). But, after seeing her recently deceased sister, my Grandmother did not want to experience more of it. She was frightened. The medium told her to just say out loud that she did not want to hear from those people/ spirits/ ghosts. That seemed to work. The only time she had another ghost/ paranormal event was just after her husband died. When I began having some paranormal experiences and that feeling of not being alone, I didn’t like it. So I did the same and that stopped it for me as well. I think it is more than I want to be involved with. I am still interested in the paranormal, beyond ghosts and spirits especially. I’ve never decided if I really believe in ghosts, as people think of them. But, I believe there was something which felt very scary to me as a teenager and young woman. I’m glad I decided not to be more involved in it. I am an atheist witch, in my beliefs. I strongly believe people will find what they look for, whether they like what they find, or not.

I once had a very creepy feeling about my nephew when he was a toddler. I had put him to bed, was lying next to him after telling bedtime stories and having a bit of talking about the moon, stars, just simple relaxing conversation for a little guy. Just waiting for him to fall asleep and then I would go downstairs to do the dishes, etc. Somehow I had a sudden, strong feeling that he was the devil or evil. This is so far from anything I usually feel or have ever felt in my life. I don’t even believe in devils, hell, etc. I’m an atheist Witch and I only believe in people and the planet itself. I was hugely creeped out and it lasted at least 15 minutes until I made myself get up and leave. I never had that come back, the nephew is a grown man now (22 or 23). I still remember how awful and terrible and scary the feeling was. But, I love the boy, looked after him for his early years when my sister went back to school. I can only think the feelings came from me somehow. But, I do understand your feelings about that doll, how strong and strange they can be. I’d be curious about how it is going in Australia too, but not really wanting to know.

What’s a Grimoire?

The Book of Shadows (BOS, for short) are the notes Pagans/ Witches/ Wiccans have made along their journey of life and learning.

A Grimoire is a book of magic, spells and techniques.

People don’t always know there is a difference. It’s a pretty slight difference. The Book of Shadows would be less scientific and contain personal thoughts. However, both would have the facts and information about techniques for magic and spells.

How to Find and Join a Coven of Witches

It’s not hard to find and join a coven if you are sincere and understand the basics of Wicca/ Witchcraft. Some covens will be a tough sell, some won’t want new members (especially new Witches or solitary Witches) and some will just be close minded to anyone who doesn’t fit exactly with their beliefs.

There may be an initiation required before anyone new can participate or join. I didn’t find this the first time I found a coven in my community. They had open meetings every Friday right in town. Not everyone will find this easy acceptance, especially if you live in a small town, rural area. (Less people means there are fewer people to form groups).

It’s all about making contact at first.

A local Pagan, occult or metaphysical store can tell you about covens in your area and give you someone to contact. Or, look online for anyone in your area, anyone who seems to have the same path of belief as yourself and anyone who is already a member of any kind of group based in your state/ province.

Attend events! If there are local Witches they probably meet up for casual social events, especially around the Pagan holidays. Look for people selling Pagan, esoteric or occult tools, books and handmade items at Farmer’s Markets, flea markets and street sales in your town. Ask for business cards, or any kind of contact information they can give you.

Talk to artists who work with natural materials: wood, iron, hemp, etc. Those who make Celtic knots, dragons and pentacles are good to ask about local Witches, including their own circle of friends.

Coffee shops are another good way to find out about local Witches. Look for a coffee shop which supports the local community by putting up notices for events, small businesses and offers local art for sale. The coffee shops make and keep contacts in the area. The owners/ managers may have people you can talk to.

You don’t need to appear an expert, but you don’t want to look clueless either.

If the local Pagans get to know you, see that you aren’t just curious but actually involved, you will be invited to join the group for a ritual.

When you are invited to watch on the sidelines or actually take part in the circle (group) be prepared. Know the ritual basics. Don’t make a rookie mistake – like not understanding which direction widdershins is.

Ask questions, before the gathering. What are you expected to bring? What does everyone wear, or not wear?

Witch and Wiccan Online Communities

 

How to Locate a Ghost Hunting Tour Group

Ghost walks (or ghost tours) are guided tours where guests are shown the haunted history of an area or a location. Ghost tours cater to tourists and are not meant to be as frightening or taken as seriously as an actual ghost hunting would be.

If you want the reality of a ghost hunt you will need to talk to the ghost hunting or paranormal research group and ask to be included next time they go out on something other than a tour. However, you would have to be someone with more knowledge and commitment to investigating the paranormal than at the tourist level.

Finding a Ghost Walking Tour

If you are already online the easiest way to find a local ghost hunting tour group is to try an online search. Open your search site of choice: Yahoo, Google, DuckDuckGo (a new search which I’ve been trying and liking), etc. Type in the search terms – “ghost tour”, “haunted walk”, “haunted tour”, “ghost exploring”, and then your local area which could be the town or city or the county you live in. Don’t restrict your search to a small area, unless you live in a very large city and want to find something right in your neighbourhood.

Don’t forget to check social sites like Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest for people who are giving ghost tours or have been on a ghost tour and given a review of their experience.

Also, search for paranormal seekers and ghost hunters in the larger area around you. Often they will have links to smaller groups in the area on their websites or blogs. This is a great help, of course, for people looking for local ghost tours.

You can also contact the larger groups and ask for information, links or phone numbers to contact any local ghost hunters who would give tours if asked or may already run scheduled tours.

Another way to find your local ghost hunters is to watch where local groups list their upcoming events. I found my local group listed in the local newspaper and a website giving free space to local groups to list their upcoming events. The ghost tours are a tourist service, a small business, so they won’t be trying to be too secretive, they want customers to find them. Ask around town, talk to other local business people and see what they know.

Historical Walking Tours

Here in my area, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, we have Doors Open, which is a tour of historical homes and places. The doors to private homes and businesses open once a year for people to have a look.

Look for tours of historical places in your area and ask the people who give the tour if any of the places are known or suspected to be haunted.

Talk to people in your local historical society too. Anyone with an interest in history of the local area is likely to know other people who share the same interests.

Urban Explorers Like Old Places and History

Try to find a group or individual who explores old places, not for ghost hunting, necessarily. Urban explorers like old places. They don’t focus on finding ghosts or any thing paranormal but they are usually interested and have stories of their own to share.

Local Pagans Will Know Where the Ghost Tours Are

Is there a local group of Pagans, Wiccans or Witches? These are another group of people who tend to be involved in the local paranormal community. Chances are great someone in the Pagan community will also know about the paranormal researchers in your area. (Actually, they are very likely to be part of both groups).

If your town or local area has a Pagan supplies store, ask there about ghost tours. They will likely have a business card, brochure or something they can hand out to tourists looking for a local ghost walk.

Find Out What the Ghost Tour Includes

Don’t forget a ghost tour is a business, like any other kind of tourism service. Don’t pay for the tour without checking to make sure you are getting what you want. Just what does the tour include? Will you need your own transportation between locations, if there are more than one included in the tour? Does the tour guide have a plan for handling things if someone gets too spooked out and needs a break? Will you get to see data taken from the tour and discuss it afterwards, like a paranormal investigator rather than being just a tourist sent on your way right afterwards?

Also, find out what you need to bring. Should you dress warmly, bring your own water or coffee? Find out what you are allowed to bring as well. Can you bring your own ghost hunting gear, if you have any?

Need More Ghosts?

Barrie Paranormal Links: My Own Local Ghost Hunters

How to Catch Ghosts at Home

ghost houseHow do you explore your own home when you think you might have paranormal, ghostly activity? What really works to find ghosts and protect yourself from them, before or after they have been found?

Do you have a ghost in your home, or are they just routine settling sort of noises?

So much of the paranormal ghost behaviour can be explained as something else. I don’t know how paranormal investigators who ghost hunt ever hope to find something that will be final and definitive proof of ghosts. It’s an uphill battle. Sceptics will bring out a list of very practical sounding explanations for any noise, shadow or movement in a building. Finding a possible unparanormal explanation is much simpler than proving there actually is something unexplained, something paranormal.

Don’t spend a lot of money on people who claim to know ghosts, spirits or all about hauntings. It’s too easy for someone to be conning home owners with something like this. There is far too much unknown for anyone to guarantee or promise any kind of service when it comes to the paranormal. People may offer to help you, but be extra cynical if the start talking about money.

There are real ghost hunters, there are real psychics but (in my opinion) there are no experts. We are all amateurs when it comes to dealing with the paranormal and the unexplained.

You can do it yourself when it comes to ghost hunting in your home.

One traditional Pagan element you can buy fairly cheap and have a large quantity of is salt. Pagans use salt to purify their tools Salt heals wounds by drying them out and pulling the edges together. Salt is still used to preserve food by drying it out and preventing it from rotting.

If you are concerned about paranormal activity in your home begin by sprinkling salt around the perimeter. A circle of salt around the edges of your property or the outside of your apartment door, depending on where and what you live in. (Salt is not going to be a good thing for your lawn and garden – try to stick to pavement as much as you can).

Use dried sage and clear your home or room of negative energies. Burn the sage in a dish, something which will allow it to burn and smoke but prevent the fire from catching in your home. The smell may bother you, so crack a few windows.

Talk to your ghost(s). Speak politely, calmly and yet be firm. Ask the ghost to leave your home. Remind the ghost that they are no longer alive in the current world. You could carry on a monologue explaining your reasons for asking them to leave, apologizing for not letting them stay, and so on. Be respectful and don’t get upset or excited.

Try to Photograph a Ghost

Write down the time, date and local weather conditions. Take time to observe the area for anything routine which could cause shadows or flickers of light.

Explain your plan to any ghost you hope will co-operate for a photo. Ask them to be available.

Keep a running journal as you take your photos. Make a note of which room you were in, where you were standing, the time and the temperature of the room or anything unusual like sounds or light/ shadows. Make a note about any feelings you had as you took the photo.

Check your photos carefully when you load them onto your computer. Something small could be in the background, reflected in a mirror or window or camouflaged by the surroundings.

Helpful Links

How to Find a Real Haunted House

Upon Leaving WasagaThere are haunted house attractions around Halloween. There are old houses which people claim to be haunted and run tours in them. But, how do you find a real haunted house?

Start by just searching online for local ghost hunters, paranormal researchers, paranormal societies, and anyone offering tours of your city or town. You might find a local ghost walk or haunted tour, if your town or city is big enough to have some tourist businesses.

The local museum and library will also know about houses in your area which have a history of ghosts and hauntings.

Look for online networks with people who photograph old houses, haunted houses or historical places. You can find a haunted house by networking with other people who are exploring, looking for the same things you are. (Urban exploration is a good way to find abandoned and/ or real haunted houses).

How to Stay in a Haunted House

First, decide if you really do want to do this. If you tend to easily freak yourself out, this probably isn’t a good idea for you. It’s too easy to convince yourself there is a ghost, either because you want there to be ghost or you just enjoy scaring yourself in some way.

Don’t go alone. For one thing, you will appreciate having a witness if you do find ghosts or something haunted. It’s also great to have a second opinion about everything you see. Not everything is a ghost just because you don’t know how to explain it.

Bring all the gear you need to navigate around. If you go at night, traditional but less sensible, bring a flash light.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

You may get a spooky feeling, but isn’t that what you were looking for? Don’t forget the objective. If you’re frightened, calm down. Become more analytical than emotional. Think of yourself as a scientist.

Keep notes about what you see, feel and hear. Take along a digital camera.

Make plans for doing something afterwards. Get a coffee along the way home. Give yourself a time and place to wind down.

How do Places Become Haunted?

There are places you would expect to draw ghosts, or keep them. Places like hotels, hospitals and prisons, where tragedies, dramas and big, life changing events and crowds of people hustling and bustling through – those are the places you would think to find a few ghosts haunting the building and the grounds.

Yet, some common, every day and random places can be haunted, or have people who have seen something, felt something or reacted to something.

People leave an impact on a place, even long after they are gone and no one quite remembers what happened or who it happened to any more. That energy sticks to a place. Like walking into a room when people have been arguing, you can feel the charged atmosphere and the sudden drop when things go silent.

I think this is what haunts a place, the charge of energy and the sudden drop. It’s as if all that energies charged up, was never grounded or allowed to ease off and dissipate Instead it was frozen in place, as it waiting for something else to happen to let it release the charge.

Each place has it’s own story and it’s own mood. Just as no two people are the same, no two haunted places will be quite the same either. If you find a place you think is haunted find out what you can of the history of the place and it’s people. Don’t let what you discover bias you as you explore, however. You might only find just what you expect to find that way and completely miss something really unexpected and unusual.

Links to Get Started With

 

old house

Where the Wild Things Are: Writing for a Wiccan Topic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 19, 2004.

I have this twisted compulsion to take on more stuff than I can actually do. It’s a form of madness.

Anyway, now I am starting a new Wicca/ Witch site for a network called AIA (All Info About). Why? Because it’s there. Also, because I thought of an idea and then I had to put life into it. In other words, do it.

So, this is going to be a Witchy site for people who are Witches. Not looking for converts, going out of my way to explain or defend Witches or Wiccans. I wanted to call it “The Living Witch” but that didn’t work out with the format they use. So, I will use that somewhere else. I plan to set up a blog as part of the site. Something I can add bits of stuff to as I go along. My idea of a Book of Shadows.

The rest of the site is going to include sections like: a regional directory of Witch groups, traditions, art, career, romance and relationships, home and garden, environment, health and beauty, spiritual, holidays, and hobbies. I’m sure this will change as I actually get started and change my mind about what will work. But you get the idea, I hope.

So many sites about Wicca leave out the reality, the living of it all. How many times do you really need or want to see the same information about sabbats and rituals? Let’s see how it works together in real life.

If anyone has ideas or articles to contribute let me know. It would be nice to hear from you anyway. Later, when the site is up I will send the URL out with this newsletter. Likely this will integrate into the site too.

Take care,

Laura

How I Chose to be a Pagan Earth Witch

When I was about 20 I decided to look into religions. I knew the traditional Christian ways were not for me. I didn’t like they way these religions viewed women. I had just read a book where the women were put into isolation after having their period or giving birth, they were “unclean”. This was on top of growing up with the Adam and Eve mythology. From that point the Bible (written and rewritten by men) just goes on to look down on women, and worse. If I were a male, I would probably never have become Pagan. I would never have begun researching other religions and beliefs and looked deeper than the surface. Most likely I would have put religion behind me as not being all that important.

My Early Pagan Experience

I started with Witchcraft and Wicca because I found a book written in the 70’s. It’s a book I wouldn’t choose to read now but parts of it were enough to send me looking for more information from more reliable sources. I found a Pagan bookstore referred to in a book. I made the hour long bus trip to downtown Toronto and found the place. Entering for that first time was not easy. I felt daring and yet I also felt I was walking into a place I didn’t fully belong and might not be welcome. I wondered if they could see inside of me, my mind and my thoughts. Would they know what I was thinking, could they see my future and my past, my aura…? That was creepy.

The first thing that really happened was the smell. Ever since then I have noticed the same smell, strongly of incense over time, in every Pagan bookstore. I like pulling out a book I bought in a Pagan store. Even a couple of decades later I can smell it in the pages. If the smell ever goes away I don’t know. So far it hasn’t.

My adventure in that first Pagan store was intimidating. If I were less determined or less curious I doubt I would have tried another Pagan store. The people there did watch me and yet said nothing. Maybe they thought I was going to walk off with something, maybe they were just curious too, I won’t know and I didn’t ask then. I was already the shy type. I bought a book and a couple of polished rocks and I left, glad to be out of there. I was left with the feeling of not belonging and I never did go back to that store. Luckily there were others and more came along later.

Finding Where and How I Fit In

A few years more and the Internet came along too. By that time I was making my own decisions about what I believed and how I believed it. I didn’t accept Wicca as it came. I took what felt right to me and put it together with how I felt about the world and it’s people. I still believe this way; I’m very much an eclectic solitary type of Pagan. I gave myself the label of Earth Witch and I’ve stuck with that, to keep the explanation simple. To me an Earth Witch means I focus on the Earth, the natural and I don’t feel influenced by deities or magick. I believe we each create our own magick from ourselves and it is up to each of us to choose how to use it, or not use it.

I have written about my Pagan beliefs before but not shared much of my actual experience. I used to get email from young women who wanted to know more about being Pagan. The main thing they wanted to know was how to hide it from their parents. I was never behind this. For one thing, if you have to hide it, maybe you should rethink the whole thing.

I do understand that some families are very Christian and close minded or even afraid of Pagan ideas and Pagan ways. If that is the case and you are living at home, this is not the time for you to explore being Pagan. Wait until you can do it openly. In the meantime, there is no reason you can’t do simple things like have a collection of rocks, maybe some shells and feathers, keep a journal about your observations of nature, history and people. These are things you can do without upsetting your parents and family. You can be Pagan without having to prove you’re Pagan. Know it yourself and start there.

Nowadays…

For me, being Pagan is a personal thing. I mainly keep it to myself. I’ve found a local group with weekly meetings but I have yet to venture out and attend one. I think I will. Each time I have stepped out and met other Pagans I have enjoyed the experience and learned new things about history, religion and beliefs. But, I’m comfortable with what I believe now, the way my feelings about being an Earth Witch have evolved. So I’m not as eager to stir myself up as I was when I was younger and just starting to explore and discover.

Where the Wild Things Are: Healing is Complicated

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 9, 2004.

I have mixed feelings about healing. It seems to me that people take it too lightly. As if you can heal anything with the right words, the right herb the right touch, etc. I don’t believe that’s true.

Healing has to come from within. You can add things and hear things and understand things but that alone won’t heal you. There aren’t instant cures for healing the mind or the body. At least that’s how it seems to me.

When people are in pain they want it to stop. That’s why any kind of instant cure is hoped for and paid for. But, that doesn’t mean it will work or that the same problem isn’t still there, just buried or masked.

Yes, you can take Tylenol to get rid of a headache. But the headache goes away when your blood thins due to the Tylenol, but not only that. The body is a mystery, still. We know what’s connected to what and how things work in a basic way. There is so much we don’t know. So much to do with the power of our own minds and thoughts. Positive thinking.

I hear people talking negatively and I cringe on the inside. It’s a mistake to be negative and then to express that is adding to the problem. Expressing it gives it a chance to exist, to have it’s own energy. To become part of the world in a more physical form.

Not that I haven’t expressed my share of negativity. Sometimes I express it to purge it from me. I get rid of it by giving it a name. When I name it I then know where to find it inside of myself and that’s a start to ridding myself of it or the original problem.

Healing is complicated. Just as people and life are complicated. But, people make life more complicated sometimes more complicated than it would ever be on it’s own. Too many rules that must be obeyed. Rules are too unbending. In order to heal you have to bend and be free to let go of some things and accept others.

Sometimes I get writing here and I think I’m making no sense at all and contradicting everything I write as I go. But, it’s all theory, opinion and ideas. Take them as they are and make what you will of them.

Where the Wild Things Are: How do you Feel about Your Religion?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, December, 8, 2003.

What would it feel like to live in your own skin if it was all new to you? I’m thinking about hearing the blood in your veins. Feeling your food being pushed along to digestion. Taking each breath rather than leaving it on auto-pilot. All those things we have grown so used to that we don’t even feel them when we try. How different would your body feel if you felt everything going on inside yourself? How would you feel about your body? It would be kind of creepy I think. Too much information about all those regular functions we take for granted.

I was reading a book, one of those historical fiction type things. It’s a different version of the story of Arthur and Guinevere. But, the book is turning into an advertisement for Christianity and the one true god. I hate it when that happens. First, it makes light of what people felt back then, how seriously they took their religion and the world they lived in. Secondly, it tries to make what I believe look foolish. The first part annoys me far more than the second.

You may be surprised. But, I don’t have to defend my beliefs, I know what they are. I’m not on a crusade to promote Witchery or Paganism in general. I can be quite happy if all the world isn’t Pagan. I’m willing to share but I’m not forcing anyone to see things my way. That’s why I don’t feel overly angry about the way my beliefs are treated in this book.

However, it’s wrong to have someone convert to Christianity for no real reason. In the book the main character is a Pict woman, Guinevere. She has a slave (a Briton taken in war) translate when the tribes meet to discuss a treaty. Anyway, the slave is Christian, a monk previously as it turns out. She decides to learn the language since she becomes betrothed to one of Arthur’s noblemen. During this time she is curious about the slave’s religion and asks him about his beliefs. That’s fine, I expect young people were curious about a lot of things, still are. But, I can’t see her converting to another religion for such flimsy reasons as are presented in this book. The reader is expected to believe she suddenly finds her own religion hollow and meaningless just because the slave talks to her about one god. She goes to a sacred place and gets no answer to her prayers to the gods. So she prays to the one god of the slave instead. There’s no answer there either but that’s not mentioned in the book.

She asks the slave a lot of questions, doubting the existence or sincerity of his god. But even though he has no real answers beyond having faith and believing she accepts that. How would a real person back then choose to accept that over what she has always known? What her family and tribe continue to believe. It’s like telling someone they have a third leg and expecting them to just believe it cause you said they should. It’s based on nothing but the word of one person. Whereas her own religion is all around her, her ancestors and the people of her tribe.

So what does any of this have to do with the beginning of this? It’s all about feeling your religion. I don’t think religion or beliefs are something you can take off as you change your clothes. They shouldn’t be something so light. You need to feel it all the time, in all kinds of ways and places. If you aren’t feeling something special then you need to reconsider and investigate other ways, other paths. Like your body, if you forget how to feel the blood in your veins you’re not really living fully. Maybe you’re taking too much for granted and should start fresh, with a new perspective.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ll finish the book. It’s getting bogged down in dogma for me.